By now I’m sure you’ve already read this TSN story about a Vancouver developer named Tom Gaglardi pushing the charge to buy the Atlanta Thrashers and relocate them to Hamilton, Ontario. Of course, that’s the same place that Research In Motion CEO Jim Balsilli reportedly wants to move the Phoenix Coyotes to.
In the TSN write-up it is stated that…according to The Hamilton Spectator… Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger will meet with a Vancouver-based group on Monday to discuss a proposed lease for Copps Coliseum. The story ends with the line, “Gaglardi is reportedly interested in having the Thrashers in Hamilton in time for the 2010 season”.
So, what’s to make of all this?
Well, obviously it’s created quite an uproar in the blogosphere…especially among those who believe in the foolish, asinine notion that the NHL should limit it’s market only to Canada and maybe, possibly U.S. states that border the Great Lakes. I guess if you view this from the vantage point of those north of the border, if you can get more teams to play up there…it will probably improve the chances that a Canadian team might just bring home the Stanley Cup for the first time since the first year of the Clinton administration.
Of course, we could look at this as a city’s mayor playing the two groups against each other for leverage if we wanted to…or chalk it up as simply yet another in a series of “The Thrashers are moving to (insert name of city here)” speculations that we hockey fans in the south have to endure with nauseating frequency.
But seriously…as Phil Foley points out among other things…someone is going to take a team currently away from a city with a metro population of over five million to one inhabited buy around seven thousand? Yeah…right!
(Oh and Phil…I linked your story partially due to the fact that you so eloquently outlined reasons the Thrashers aren’t on the move…but mostly because of your reference and picture of Elisha Cuthbert. Nicely played)!
But in the end…it doesn’t matter a bit what you or I or Phil or Elisha…or even our friends up north who salivate at the thought of an All-Snowbird NHL…have to say about this. No, in the end the only people that can squelch such a rumor…they only ones that can adequately move to put an end to this chatter…is Bruce Levenson and/or any other member of the Atlanta Spirit, L.L.C.
That’s why I now call upon Levenson to go on the record and state unequivicably that this story is 100%, unadultered, grade-A…shall we say… “male bovine excretion”.
And the longer he or any other of the Spirit Boys take to do just that…the longer this story hangs out there to be speculated upon as truth. And that then leads to unease in Thrasherville. Unease at Thrasherville then leads to season ticket holders re-thinking their plans to re-up for their packages next season…and a decreasing STH population is not a good thing at all, as I’m sure the Spiriteers must have learned last season.
To his credit, general manager Don Waddell has gone on the record saying that the story is absolutely false. Of course, if I wanted to be cynical, I could point out that this is the same man that just last summer denied John Anderson had been offered the head coaching job with the Thrashers the night before it was announced that, indeed, he was hired as the coach. Also, let us not forget the whole, “Alexei Zhitnik is going to be a big part of the team this coming season” comment. Days later, Zhit’s contract was bought out.
I guess Don’s comments were correct given that paying him to not play helped keep the team just north of the salary floor.
To that point… and in Don’s defense here… the ownership has not won many brownie points with the fans given the way they have penny-pinched the team’s payroll over the course of the past few years. The paying customers have been asked to support with more of their hard-earned dollars a team that they themselves don’t seem to believe in given their lack of willingness to invest more in.
So, those who support the team with their sports entertainment dollars understandably are already an antsy bunch. This type of news simply doesn’t help matters if left to fester without comment by Levenson and Co.
But, this is one circumstance in which the owners could improve the ground that the organ-I-zation stand upon that would not cost them one single, red cent. All Bruce would have to do is simply state…on the record…very clearly and concisely…that they are not involved with, nor are they currently entertaining the thought of talking to, anyone or any group that intends to relocate the Thrashers away from Atlanta.
Not Don…not an unnamed source…Bruce Levenson and the Spirit Boys needs to say it.
It would be quick, simple and could do away with so much needless nonsense.
So, step up to the mic Bruce and/or other of the Spirit Boys. Put this whole thing to rest once and for all.
Or just continue to remain mum and add to the unease that permeates throughout your fanbase.
Yeah…that would be good.